Ireland U20s head coach Noel McNamara has named his starting XV to face France U20s this Friday night in Irish Independent Park in Cork.
There has been one change to the team from the 34-14 victory over Italy two weeks ago, with Sean Franch coming into the centre in place of captain David Hawkshaw, who is ruled out with a knee injury. Cork Con's Sean French will now make his first start for the Irish Under 20s against defending champions France.
The Ireland team, sponsored by PWC, have a huge opportunity to move one step closer to securing this year's Six Nations if they can pick up a victory in front of a jam-packed Irish Independent Park.
🗒️: Here is your Ireland U20 side to face France this Friday night in Irish Independent Park
🏉: Kick-Off at 7.15pm#FutureIsGreen #ShoulderToShoulder #IREvFRA pic.twitter.com/DRDiC8LbGF
— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) March 6, 2019
On announcing the side, McNamara also spoke about the absence of captain Hawkshaw:
We were pleased to come home from Italy with a bonus point win, but there are still elements that we feel can be improved on, so it’s about continuing to progress as we move through the tournament.
The French are still in the hunt for the title and they are a big side, so for us it’s about sticking to our game-plan and looking to match their physicality.
The players took so much from the atmosphere at Irish Independent Park on the opening night against England and are itching to get back out there this week.
It’s really unfortunate for David Hawkshaw to miss out. He’s been in great form on the pitch and has been a fantastic leader of the side. Everyone wishes him well in his recovery.
France have also named their team for Friday's clash.
☘️🇫🇷 Votre équipe de #FranceU20 défie l'Irlande vendredi soir à Cork ! Voici les joueurs choisis par Sébastien Piqueronies et son staff pour cette rencontre du @SixNations_FR ! #IRLFRA #NeFaisonsXV pic.twitter.com/lZzWwdzgBE
— France Rugby (@FranceRugby) March 6, 2019
15. Jake Flannery (Shannon/Munster)
14. Angus Kernohan (Queen’s University/Ulster)
13. Liam Turner (Dublin University/Leinster)
12. Sean French (Cork Constitution/Munster)
11. Jonathan Wren (Cork Constitution/Munster)
10. Harry Byrne (Lansdowne/Leinster)
9. Craig Casey (Shannon/Munster)
1. Josh Wycherley (Young Munster/Munster)
2. Dylan Tierney-Martin (Corinthians/Connacht)
3. Thomas Clarkson (Dublin University/Leinster)
4. Charlie Ryan (UCD/Leinster) Captain
5. Niall Murray (Buccaneers/Connacht)
6. Martin Moloney (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
7. Scott Penny (UCD RFC/Leinster)
8. John Hodnett (UCC/Munster)
16. John McKee (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
17. Callum Reid (Banbridge/Ulster)
18. Ryan Lomas (Galwegians/Connacht)
19. Ryan Baird (Dublin University/Leinster) *
20. David McCann (Banbridge/Ulster)
21. Cormac Foley (St. Mary’s College / Leinster)
22. Ben Healy (Garryowen/Munster)
23. Rob Russell (Dublin University/Leinster)
SEE ALSO: 'People Saw Ireland As Top Dog After They Beat Us, That Put Massive Expectation On Them'